Monday, August 18, 2014

The Enemy

Europe posts have been coming slowly since I've been fighting Picasa and Google+ due to storage space. Its really a struggle since I need to be more judicious about how to use free time (usually I decompose into a pile on the couch). I'm slowly turning into a ludite anyway.In other news, I thought I would post about Quinn's epic fight with her enemy, the bottle.

My second time around with a baby, I should know the ropes a bit better. True to form though, second children know how to throw you for a loop by having different challenges. Nursing with Quinn from day 1 has been pretty awesome. She latched right away, never had weight gain issues and didn't experience the excessive food allergy issues that Derek had. She nurses well, sleep long stretches and has a sunny disposition (with me at least!).


The bottle.

First of all, I wish I didn't have to use the bottle. I want to return to work, and if there is anything I could change about my arrangement, it wouldn't be that I wouldn't go back to work but that I would go and could 1) work from home full time, so I could nurse; or 2) live closer work so I could easily come home to nurse. Though neither is the case, I'm fortunate enough to have taken 4 months of maternity leave with some ongoing telework 1-2 days a week. However, this means Quinn will still need to take the bottle 3-4 days a week while I'm gone for 9 hours a day. 

Derek took the bottle like a champ. Around 6 weeks, he would switch effortlessly in between and I felt less frightened of leaving him at home for a short stretch while I ran to the store or for quick errands. Derek was such a frequent nurser, that I would actually worry about him crying within 45 minutes of starvation. Quinn can really hold out between feedings. Not one to comfort nurse (until more recently at 3 and 4 months), she will go up to 4 hours in the day without a feeding and longer at night. I will try to offer to her in shorter intervals but she isn't interested. But when she is hungry, the girl really needs to eat.

When Quinn first rejected the bottle around 8 weeks, I didn't worry too much about it. In fact, I was secretly ecstatic that I couldn't be replaced by a silicone nipple even though it had my expressed nipple. She would cry and chew on it a bit more then completely ignore it. It sent our nanny into distress worried about how she would care for her (again comparing her to Derek our eating champ).  I told her not to stress and we moved to alternates like the dropper and the cup.  Both caused a big mess, along with a huge waste of breastmilk, and neither really did the job of feeding her.  I would let her just spend time with the bottle as a toy. It would hang out with us while nursing.

We spent every minute together in Europe basically. The one night I had to go out with Mike for his birthday dinner after bedtime, she slept until 4am the next day. We were going to try to get her to take a bottle a day, a few weeks before going back to daycare but, the whirlwind of life didn't allow for it.

On August 11, I had exhausted all maternity leave - I'd taken vacation leave, sick leave and even leave without pay for a few weeks. I had to go back in the office. I left 10 oz of milk and hoped for the best.

I came home the first day. All the milk was left. She had essentially taken nothing for 10 hours and was in hunger strike mode.  I felt so sad thinking she had cried so much that first day without me. But I had to remind myself, that she was with a loving caregiver.  It feels like the nanny and I might be having more distress over her not taking the bottle. I considered taking a cab home some days from work (cost be damned!) to just see her little chubby face.

The week wore on. She started to weaken her resolve, but she still starved herself out for nearly a week. It wasn't until Friday did she have a few ounces.  In the meantime, I spent every waking hour at home with her attached to me. Mostly because I missed her, more than I worried about her starving. She seemed fine to wake up every few hours at night to eat and I was happy to have her do it.

So she's sometimes taking the bottle, she'll be 6-months in a few weeks here so I hope to just transition her to a cup soon.

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